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Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners in open jails did not complete relevant offender programmes in the closed prison estate in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Straw: This information is not available. It could be obtained only by going through the files of every prisoner held in the open estate in the last 12 months, to do so would be at disproportionate cost. Prior to allocation to an open prison, prisoners are assessed to ensure that the level of risk that they present can be safely managed in open conditions. The assessment will take account of a range of factors including participation in activities such as offending behaviour and treatment programmes where appropriate. The risk assessment process for open conditions is stringentand becoming more sophisticated at assessing risk. As a result, abscond rates are falling: (financial years) 2003-041,310; 2004-05877; 2005-06709; 2006-07555; 2007-08561 (annualised projection). Over 95 per cent. of those who have absconded are returned to custody.
However, some programmes are also delivered in open prisons. There have been open prisons since 1936 and they are the most effective means of ensuring prisoners are tested in the community before they are released. To release prisoners directly from a closed prison without the resettlement benefits of the open estate would undoubtedly lead to higher levels of post-release re-offending.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cases the Parole Board considered in each of the last 10 years; how many and what proportion of offenders were granted oral hearings in each of those years; and how many of those offenders were granted parole in each year. 
Mr. Hanson: The information requested is set out in the following table. It is based on data published by the Parole Board in its annual reports. It excludes the Parole Boards consideration of recalled prisoners.
Almost all determinate sentence prisoners have their parole applications considered on the papers and therefore the oral hearings listed in the table are predominantly in respect of indeterminate and extended sentence prisoners.
|Determinate sentence prisoners considered for parole||Extended and Indeterminate (including lifers) prisoners considered for parole||Granted oral hearing||Granted oral hearing (Percentage)||Released by oral hearing||Released by oral hearing (Percentage)|
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many applications for lasting power of attorney have been declared invalid since the inception of the Office of the Public Guardian; for what reasons in each case; and whether each was subsequently accepted; 
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many lasting power of attorney forms have been incorrectly completed and returned to the applicant since the introduction of such forms; in how many such cases (a) applicants have been required to pay a second registration fee on successful completion of the form and (b) applicants have discontinued their registration; and for what purposes a second registration fee is required. 
Since the commencement of the Mental Capacity Act in October 2007 until the end of March 2008 the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) received 9,623 applications to register a lasting power of attorney (LPA). During the same period 1,256 lasting powers of attorney were registered by the Public Guardian. Currently we do not have figures for the total number of LPAs that were rejected during this period as the bulk of the 9,623 applications will still be progressing through the system.
The OPG will only reject an application if it contains material errors that are not capable of correction. The OPG's recent experience is that many initially imperfect applications can be registered after the errors have been corrected by an exchange of correspondence.
The OPG recently carried out a sampling exercise that suggested around 40 per cent. of applications are valid on receipt and can be registered once the statutory waiting period has expired, around 30 per cent. of applications can be registered once further information has been provided and around 30 per cent. cannot be registered at all due to material errors in the application. In January the OPG also identified the main reasons currently why an LPA cannot be registered and made this information available on its website.
A decision was also taken that where a fresh application was necessary and the invalid application was received prior to January the OPG would not charge an additional fee for registration. However, where a new application is required for invalid applications received after January an additional fee will be payable. Where all that is required is additional information, or where errors can be corrected without a fresh application being necessary, no additional fee is payable regardless of when the application was made.
Annual key performance indicators (KPIs), agreed with the Ministry of Justice, set out how the Office of the Public Guardian and Court of Protection will meet their service levels.
I also currently receive regular updates on performance from the chief executive and meet with him to discuss performance.
A statutory Public Guardian board scrutinises the way in which the Public Guardian discharges his functions and makes recommendations to the Lord Chancellor as appropriate. I have met periodically with the chair of the board since its inception.
The OPG and Courts Annual report for 2007-08 is due to be published prior to the summer recess and will include an assessment of performance against KPIs and the Public Guardian board will be publishing their first report on the Public Guardian around October 2008 once the Act has been in operation for a full year.
The Office of the Public Guardian and Court of Protection have faced a number of operational challenges since they were created as a result of volumes of work
significantly higher than expected. Although there are positive aspects to thisfor example it appears large numbers of people are planning ahead by making a new lasting power of attorneythe high volumes have meant a dip in performance levels. Additional resources have been made available to manage the higher than anticipated workloads and these have been deployed across the organisation and in particular into the team that register powers of attorney. However it will inevitably take some time before the additional resources take full effect.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of those convicted of rape were aged (a) 10 to 15, (b) 16 to 18, (c) 19 to 25,
(d) 26 to 30 and (e) over 30 years in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. 
The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
|Number of defendants convicted of rape( 1) at all courts, by age group, England and Wales, 1997 to 2006( 2, 3)|
|(1) The following offences and statutes have been included in the above data;|
Rape of a female aged under 16. - Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.1
Rape of a female aged 16 or over. - Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.1
Rape of a male aged under 16. - Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.1
Rape of a male aged 16 or over - Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.1
Rape of a female child under 13 by a male - Sexual Offences Act 2003 S. 5
Rape of a male child under 13 by a male - Sexual Offences Act 2003 S. 5
(2) These data are on the principal offence basis.
(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(4) Staffordshire police force were only able to submit sample data for persons proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates courts for the year 2000. Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust enough at a detailed level and have been excluded from the table.
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